Portland General Electric confirmed on Thursday that it will initiate public safety power shutoffs affecting approximately 30,000 homes and businesses in a dozen designated areas in Clackamas County and other rural parts of the metro area to mitigate a heightened wildfire risk this weekend.
The concerns have been fueled by continued high temperatures and dry conditions, coupled with high, gusty winds that are forecast through Sunday. Similar conditions sparked the disastrous Labor Day wildfires of 2020.
PGE’s designated areas include rural areas surrounding the Mount Hood Hood corridor and foothills, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon City, Estacada, Scotts Mills, Portland West Hills, Tualatin Mountains, Northwest Hills, Central West Hills, and Southern West Hills.
In partnership with local officials, PGE has also planned preventive outages in two additional areas, Silverdale/Corbett and Silver Falls, as a proactive measure to reduce the risk of wildfire during these extreme fire conditions and to help protect people and property.
The shutoffs are not expected to impact residents within the urban areas or city limits of these communities, but rather the more rural zones where the wildfire danger is higher.
PGE is reaching out directly to its customers in the impacted areas, and residents can also visit the utility’s website to see maps and more information.
“Winds are expected to increase overnight at higher elevations and move across our service territory through Friday morning into the afternoon,” PGE said in a press release. “The most critical weather conditions are anticipated for late Friday evening into Saturday morning.”
Based on current information, PGE estimates public safety power shutoffs the designated areas will start Friday morning. If the weather clears as expected and there is no damage to PGE systems, power restoration could begin as early as Saturday evening.
Estimated power shut off start times by area for Friday, Sept. 9 are as follows:
Mount Hood Corridor and Foothills: 3 to 6 a.m.
Columbia River Gorge: 5 to 8 a.m.
Oregon City: 8 to 11 a.m.
Estacada: 3 to 6 a.m.
Scotts Mills: 5 to 8 a.m.
All other areas with the exception of the Southern West Hills: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Southern West Hills: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The areas of Silverdale/Corbett and Silver Falls are expected to experience preventive outages starting Friday, September 9, between 5 and 8 a.m.
Crews will be standing by and, weather permitting, will begin to physically inspect power lines and equipment and make any repairs necessary to safely restore power.
PGE will provide updates at least every 24 hours until all customers regain power through email, text, social media, press releases, and at portlandgeneral.com.
The utility urges customers, particularly those located in the designated areas, to go to portlandgeneral.com/psps and confirm if power to their address is scheduled to be turned off. After shutoff, customers will receive an email and/or text notification confirming we are aware their power is out.
Customers are also encouraged to prepare to activate their emergency plans and gather their outage kits and other supplies. All residents should be aware of their surroundings, pay extra attention to signage and avoid downed power lines.
To help affected customers and communities during the event, at least five community resource centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until power is fully restored to the areas. Information, bottled water, ice, access to charging for personal devices and Wi-Fi will be available.
The centers are Welches Elementary School, 24901 East Salmon River Road; Estacada Baptist Church, 29101 Southeast Eagle Creek Road; Silverton Safeway, 301 Westfield Street; Jim’s Thriftway, 12350 Northwest Main Street in Banks; and Sheridan High School, 433 S Bridge Street.
Additional community resource centers are opening Saturday and Sunday to serve the Oregon City and Sandy communities: the Wacheno Welcome Center at Clackamas Community College, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the AntFarm Cafe and Bakery at 39140 Proctor Boulevard in Sandy, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Governor Kate Brown on Thursday provided an update on the wildfire situation in Oregon, joined by state forestry, fire, utility and emergency management officials.
“The forecasted wind patterns, hot dry weather, and potential for lightning are making a challenging environment for increased fire in the coming days,” said Brown. “There is also the possibility of public safety power shutoffs to mitigate potential fire risks.
She urged Oregonians to do their part to assist firefighters and first responders in protecting people and property.
“Being prepared is paramount — I encourage all Oregonians to make an emergency plan with your families today,” she said. “And, please, check on friends and family who may be vulnerable or medically fragile to ensure their needs are addressed.”
Clackamas County officials also pushed out notices Thursday warning residents about the imminent shutoffs or weather-related outages that could last multiple days.
“Even if you are not affected by a planned public safety power shutoff, you still may experience a power outage that could last days,” officials said. “Depending on the severity of the storm, it is possible that people can be without power for days similar to what the community experience in the ice storm of 2021.”
Even if the severe weather dissipates Saturday evening as predicted, the shutoffs could continue for additional days if PGE lines or systems need to be repaired, officials warned.
Residents are encouraged to sign up for public alerts to receive emergency notifications about wildfires, including evacuation notices, public safety power shutoffs and other emergencies at clackamas.us/dm/publicalerts, and to take any other necessary steps to protect yourself, family, household members, pets, livestock and other animals.
Extreme heat is also forecast this weekend, and Clackamas County and its partners will open several cooling centers through the weekend. Visit clackamas.us/relief daily for places that are open to cool off.
It is possible that wildfire smoke from fires burning elsewhere in the state may blow into the local area, creating dangerous conditions for people, especially those with health conditions. For information on how to stay safe, visit publicalerts.org/wildfire-smoke.
Please stay up to date on conditions and check on your neighbors and other vulnerable individuals.
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